2017 was Visit Wales’ “Year of Legends”, inviting you to experience ancient legends in a new way but also create legends of your own to share with friends and family.
Wales is the land of legends, At the heart of them are the traditional tales related in the ancient book known as The Mabinogion, dating back to the 12th and 14th centuries. Amongst them can be found stories of King Arthur and Merlin, (known as Myrddin in Welsh) and tales of the Druids, whilst more recently there are accounts of the Princes of Wales, Owain Glyndŵr and Henry Tudor.
To experience some of these ancient legends you could visit Harlech Castle, built by Edward I after he defeated the Welsh Princes, then captured by Glyndŵr in 1404, remaining his headquarters until recaptured by the English in 1409. During the Wars of the Roses it was held by the Lancastrians for seven years before the Yorkists forced its surrender in 1468. It was then the last Royalist castle to surrender in the Civil War. Today it is an evocative ruin perched high up on its rocky outcrop, standing sentinel over Cardigan Bay and the mountains of Snowdonia. With a new, level access bridge, a redesigned Visitor’s Centre and café it is worth visiting to learn more about the legends of the area and Harlech Castle’s part in them. They have lots of special events planned for 2017.
At Corris you will find King Arthur’s Labyrinth, a magical day out where you will be taken by a mysterious hooded guide through an enchanted waterfall and back in time to the Dark Ages. There you will hear epic tales and the legends of King Arthur. Maybe you find out where he is sleeping, awaiting the day when he and his knights are needed again…..
In more recent times, a son of Barmouth was the 5th Officer on the Titanic. Harold Lowe was at school in Barmouth when he ran away to sea in 1896 at the age of 14. On the night of the sinking of the Titanic he was sleeping when the iceberg was struck and only woke up 30 minutes later! He was in a lifeboat with a group of other boats and organised them so his lifeboat was empty to go back to look for survivors - one of only two boats to go back to help those in the freezing Atlantic waters. After the disaster he served in the Royal Naval Reserve in the First World War and as an Air Raid Warden in the Second World War.
And now a new page is turned, waiting for you to write your own legends. Will you rise to the challenge? Will you become legendary?
Barmouth has its own share of tales of legendary heroes from bygone times. It is said that Henry Tudor was supported by loyal men in Barmouth. Descended from the Welsh Earl of Pembroke he was the last remaining Lancastrian heir during the Wars of the Roses after Edward IV defeated Henry VI at the Battle of Tewkesbury. Henry VI “died” later in captivity at the Tower of London leaving no closer Lancastrian heir. Henry landed in Wales in August 1485 and three weeks later won the Battle of Bosworth starting the reigns of the Tudor kings and queens. In Barmouth, at Tŷ Gwyn, men loyal to the Tudor cause met and plotted to help him on his way.